LifeHack.org is one of the web’s largest, and one of its more shameless, generator of those shitty clickbait listicles that periodically pollute your personal Facebook feed. Like most such sites, it is the digital equivalent of a pitcher plant: it entices readers to make an impulsive click on a curiousity-inducing headline atop some meaningless drivel of an article. But once sucked into the site, you’re trapped in an endless scroll of similarly fluffy listicles that slowly turn your brain to sludge while embedded webads turn your wild flailings for escape into money for the site.
So, I was torn about writing about one of LifeHack.org’s most recent articles (“9 Reasons Why You Should Date a Chinese Girl“), which appears designed to maximize clickbait appeal by attracting Asiaphiles and enraging Asian Americans. Written by self-described “Media Stragetist/Resultist/Content Writer/Blogger/Entrepreneur” Casey Imafidon, whose other work at LifeHack.org and similar sites are of equally low quality, this listicle is a transparent attempt to draw in readers with racist and sexist stereotype.
It almost goes without saying that Imafidon’s listicle on Chinese women is both offensive and poorly written (the latter because it’s really just a collection of unsubstantiated pronouncements about Chinese women). In a post that wouldn’t be out-of-place if it appeared in any of your standard misogynist, anti-feminist pick-up artist blogs, Imafidon invokes stereotypes of Chinese women as meek, submissive, hyperfeminine, and sexually available to argue that male readers should “consider” dating us, as if we’re a new brand of light bulb or an unfamiliar model of car.
The post also serves as an implied attack on feminism in general (and an erasure of Asian American feminism in particular) with its pointed praise that Chinese women know our place as females. According to the writer, Chinese women “understand the true meaning of gender roles” and we “tend to follow the traditional standards of what a woman’s role is”, which the writer contrasts against the “obnoxious and entitled”, “stiff and rigid”, “Western” (re: feminist) woman.
— Kathy Pham (@kathyhasramen) November 22, 2015
— Annette Cheng (@annettiie) November 22, 2015
Finally, the post is unabashedly heteronormative and misogylinist.
If the purpose of this article was to generate outrage and attention — and therefore clicks — then Imafidon has done his job. LifeHack.org explicitly states that its content may be (intentionally?) offensive and that it indemnifies itself of any responsibility for inappropriate content. Clearly, this website knows the potential cost of driving readership with controversy and has already taken steps to protect itself. Indeed, by the time of this publication, the post had already generated 2,000 likes on social media. Meanwhile, Imafidon’s paltry 136 Twitter follower count makes me further suspicious that this is nothing more than a ploy by a self-identified digital “resultist” for attention.
(Note: I should mention at this point that I am also skeptical of Imafidon’s stated name and identity. Freelance bloggers have been known to invent pseudonyms — with some writers maintaining multiple identities at a time — in order to support their livelihoods as blog writers for sites like these. I haven’t been able to independently confirm whether or not Imafidon is a pen name or not.)
Thus, I was divided about writing about this controversy. On the one hand, I think it’s important to draw attention to examples of racism and sexism as it relates to Asian American women, as ways to start conversations about AAPI feminism. But, on the other hand, drawing attention here appears to be exactly the goal of the writing. In the end, I chose to write this post in order to highlight our community’s reaction to it, but I do so with the strong recommendation that readers minimize clicks through to the original post, or shares of that original post with their friends.
Users of the Facebook group Global Asian Americans for Social Change have organized a social media campaign to ask that LifeHack.org take the post down, and are asking users to tweet their displeasure to @lifehackorg, @caseyimafidon, #NotYourChinaDoll and #NotYourSuzieWong.
You can also email LifeHack.org at email@example.com.
— Global Asians (@GAASCFB) November 22, 2015
Read More: Outdated Stereotypes of Asian Women Live On in Modern Times in Lifehack Article (AsAm News)
Update (11/23/2015): Post writer Casey Imafidon has published the following apology via Twitter.
The post on LifeHack.org has also been significantly updated to remove much of the original text, but still remains grounded in stereotypes of Chinese women as passive and exotic.